Quark has announced QuarkXPress 9, the newest version of QuarkXPress, which will allow designers to publish directly to digital devices and increase their productivity with new features for design automation.

The new version gives designers the power to design for and publish to digital devices in a variety of formats, while also offering them even more control over the execution of their creative visions, according to the folks at Quark. QuarkXPress 9 sets a precedent for digital publishing by offering designers a flexible and cost-effective array of options for creating content that can be published to digital devices — e-readers, smartphones, and tablets — with one tool, and without programming code, they add.

With App Studio for QuarkXPress, designers will have a dedicated design environment within QuarkXPress 9 for creating content for the iPad. Designers will be able to create customized apps for the iPad, distribute their apps through the Apple App Store, and then publish interactive content to the app. QuarkXPress 9 provides tools to repurpose existing content or to design content specifically for the iPad that includes video/audio players, slideshows, scrollable regions, Web overlays, pop-up windows, buttons, and hyperlinks.

QuarkXPress 9 includes an option for exporting to ePUB, the free and open e-book standard developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). Designers can create traditional text-based e-books and publish to e-bookstores such as Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble NOOK, and Amazon® Kindle. Book publishers can also export existing QuarkXPress layouts in ePUB format.

QuarkXPress 9 includes a new Reflow View that allows designers to configure the content behind their layout to prepare it for reflow-based outputs such as ePUB. Designers can also automatically create an ePUB table of contents from the Reflow View’s article structure.

In addition to its digital publishing capabilities, QuarkXPress 9 includes new features that help automate the design process. Conditional Styles allows designers to automatically style content based on styling rules. Compatible with Microsoft Word import and export, the new Bullets and Numbering feature of QuarkXPress 9 simplifies the ability to format ordered and unordered lists and complex multi-level outlines.

With the Callouts feature, boxes and groups move automatically with text as determined by the designer; callouts can be positioned relative to the page, spread, text box, paragraph, or character. A wizard for easily creating or modifying hard-to-draw shapes such as waves, polygons, stars, and spirals, ShapeMaker also allows designers to create unique corner effects.

ImageGrid allows designers to import and automatically build grids of images with a variety of layout options and also supports image captioning. Linkster enables designers to unlink and relink text boxes that already contain text, to unlink stories spanning multiple pages, and to link or unlink boxes without disrupting existing text.

Story Editor provides a word-processor-like view within QuarkXPress 9, which is designed to be helpful when text within a layout is difficult to read and when reviewing stories that span multiple pages. A way to clone design elements, Cloner allows designers to copy items or pages to other pages or layouts and can be used to combine layouts or split them apart

QuarkXPress 9 will ship in April and the price will match the current price of QuarkXPress 8: US$799 for a full product license and $299 for upgrades from QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7. It will be available through authorized Quark resellers (http://www.quark.com/Buy/QuarkXPress_Sales/ResellerSearch.aspx) and through the Quark Store (http://shop.quark.com/am/). App Studio for QuarkXPress — which enables publishing to the iPad — will be available as a free update to QuarkXPress 9 users within 90 days after QuarkXPress 9 ships.

Through April 30, anyone who purchases or upgrades to QuarkXPress 8 at the regular price is eligible to upgrade to QuarkXPress 9 for free. In addition, any customers who purchased QuarkXPress 8 between Jan. 1, 2011 and Feb. 23, 2011 are entitled to a complimentary upgrade to QuarkXPress 9. Those who qualify should complete the QuarkXPress 9 upgrade redemption form located here: http://www.quark.com/buy8get9/ . Valid serial numbers and validation codes established between January 1, 2011 and April 30, 2011 will be necessary to redeem the free upgrade to QuarkXPress 9.